Win. Loss. Loss. Loss. Loss. Win. Loss. The story of the Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) IPL 2021 journey before the tournament was indefinitely suspended.
Having started their campaign in grand fashion by trumping the Sunrisers Hyderabad on the back Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi's exploits with the bat - the two-time IPL champions offered a gleam of hope after a disappointing 2020 season. But the journey after the opening match has been a downward slump for Eoin Morgan's boys. After their opening day success, KKR lost four matches on the trot. More than the points dropped, it is the nature of those losses that will irk the team and their fans.
KKR let matches slip away from positions of strength
Against the defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI), KKR needed just 31 runs off 30 balls with six wickets in hand, and yet they lost by 10 runs.
In their next match, they had the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) reeling at 9-2 after two overs, with Virat Kohli back in the dugout. Even Devdutt Padikkal was later dismissed for just 25. And yet, KKR allowed Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers to slam 98 runs in the last seven overs to help RCB post a match-winning 204-4 on a sluggish Chepauk track.
In their very next match, KKR allowed another team to post a total in excess of 200, albeit on a much truer pitch. KKR's bowlers were taken to the cleaners by every Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsman who walked out to bat. Partnerships of 115, 50, 36 and 19* clearly demonstrated KKR's inability to pick up wickets at crucial junctures. And as if conceding a total of 220 wasn't disastrous enough - KKR's top-order fell like a pack of cards to Deepak Chahar, who had them struggling at 31-5 within the powerplay. Dinesh Karthik, Pat Cummins and Andre Russell did give them some hope, but in the end, it was not enough.
Fast-forward three days and it's a similar tale, this time against the Rajasthan Royals (RR), with Morris being the wrecker-in-chief. The KKR innings never got going as RR pinned them back every time a partnership started to develop. A under-par total of 133 was chased down by the Royals with seven balls to spare.
A win did follow the string of losses, with the Punjab Kings' (PBKS) middle-order capsizing, thus setting KKR a mediocre target of 124, which they chased down comfortably, with Morgan and Tripathi playing sizeable knocks. But it was more a case of the opposition failing than KKR succeeding - as evidenced by their thumping loss to the Delhi Capitals (DC) three days later. That loss in itself sums up the dire condition of the KKR camp. Baffling team selection, misfiring players and lack of cohesion amongst their units have all contributed to their disappointing IPL 2021 journey to this point.
So what can they do to swing their drastically falling fortunes? Let's take a deeper look.